Enriching Life Through Innovative Ideas SM

What should you do if you are accused of copyright infringement?

If a company suspects that you or your California business is guilty of copyright infringement, the entity or one of its representatives will send you a letter or email or otherwise notify you via telephone that you are in violation of its copyright. The claim may relate to an article published on your website or to a photo you used in your blog. Typically, the notification will inform you that if you do not take steps to remedy the situation (remedy usually means pull down the copyrighted content or pay a fee), the owner of the copyright will file a court action against you. Upon receipt of this notification, you may panic, but do not — instead, take the time to understand the claim and determine the best course of action based on your organization’s needs and circumstances.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, the first thing you should do upon receiving a demand letter is determine the validity of the claim. Review the letter for information regarding the copyrighted materials. Are the materials the letter describes material you are actually using? Are you using the materials in the manner which the letter suggests? If so, are the materials available via a public domain, or did you license them?

If the materials require permission to use, did you obtain permission? If yes, scroll through your records to find notice of permission in writing. Review the terms of use to make sure you did not violate them in any way. For instance, though the company may have granted you permission to use the material for six months and you use for 12 months, then you may be in violation. Or maybe the license state only six users can access the contents but you made the content available to your whole company – this may also be an infringement.

If it appears you are guilty of copyright infringement, you may be able to turn to the fair use defense. Per Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act, you may use copyright-protected work for parody, commentary, news reporting, education and research. In general, the courts will not consider commercial use of a copyrighted work as fair use.

The content shared in this article is for your informational purposes only. It should not be used as legal advice. 

FindLaw Network

What Our Clients Say

Starting a new business can be a bit scary. Aside from worries of failure, there’s also the hassle of making sure all legal paperwork are properly filed. I reached out to Mr. Wang (Tommy) because of his excellent reviews and reputation and I am so glad I did. He was thorough and meticulous in answering all of my concerns and took time to find out special laws and policies regarding the kind of business I am starting. I could focus on the daily practical side of starting my new office without worry because I felt Tommy was reliable and took my case seriously. My business is opened and it’s all been a smooth start because of Tommy’s help. I have plans to start another business venture in the next few years and I already know I’ll be coming back to Wang IP Law.

The Shindig W.

I came to Tommy for help reviewing a licensing agreement I had secured with a well-known manufacturer. Tommy made sure I understood all the details in the contract and he negotiated with the company to improve my side of the deal. I mentioned to Tommy at my first consultation that we were looking to expand throughout the US and were investing a lot of money to make a big entrance into the market. I did not think I would have my store open so soon but Tommy also has connections with the local area and realtors to help me secure the location for my first store in the Los Angeles area. Tommy works a lot with the local businesses and he understands how to transition from the Asian market to US market. Within 8 months my store was open for business and fully operating. I must recommend Tommy to any business owners looking for help with contracts and improving their side of the deal. Tommy has the knowledge and experience to make sure there is a smooth process to open for business here, and make sure that your company is set up for success.

LI H.

I think Tommy and his team by far considered the best people to work with in my 16 business years. Beside quick responses to all my inquiries, they also done things right and providing very professional solutions. I’m highly recommending Tommy and his firm to all business owners.

Calvin C.

I have been working on my Utility Patent for almost 4 years. I have hired and fired two very reputable IP firms because with all their expertise and reputation for being some of the top firms in IP Law, I felt a lack of connection and care in my product, time and financial investment. Then I found Tommy and his team. Tommy does not waste time. He and his team are professional and extremely thorough. After 4 years, I finally found a legal team that I felt spent the time to really understand the components of my utility patent. Tommy also very mindful of cost and how and where my money would be better spent. I really feel I am in great hands with Tommy and his team. They have been patient with my revisions. And most importantly, they made me feel that they fully understood the importance this patent is to me. It has been a great and comforting pleasure working with Tommy.

G.L.

Read All